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sheila grace
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Ralston, Washington, United States
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CBP Property Plant Database

Posted by sheila grace over 9 years ago

We are creating an oasis in the middle of a biological wasteland. Surrounded by dry wheat monoculture - here is our tree & shrub inventory - the beginnings of a small forest.

Welcome to the CBP property plant database. From this view it looks a bit sparse. No worries, we like a good challenge; like to think of it as Eden in Hell: Permaculture in a Dry Climate.

CBP in Summer

There is no doubt in our minds that the #1 effort is to establish trees. The role they play is critical; shade, wind break, nitrogen fixing, bird habitat, mulch, food, fuel, medicine, micro climates and more. We purchase saplings from Nurseries, gather seeds from locally acclimated trees, take cuttings from wild trees, take cuttings from our new trees & encourage volunteers.

Trees & Shrubs

Trees already occurring on the property before 2007

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)   16
Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) 03
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) 01
Lombardy Poplar (Populus nigra) 03
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra) 08
Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila) 02
Apple (Malus sp) 04
Apricot (Prunus sp) 03
Almond  (Prunus sp) 02
Cherry  (Prunus sp) 02

Total         44

That’s it, pretty sparse and most of the trees were dying from neglect and lack of watering. The property sat empty for some time even after multiple “rent to own” persons lived here. All of the Prunus species were lumped together in one orchard space (typical of most early orchards) in a grass dominant soil with no wind protection and no over or under story support species.

The cultivars selected did not bloom late enough in the spring to survive the killing frosts of this area resulting in failed crop potential year after year. We harvested a bumper crop of apricots this year (2014) due to mild temps all spring and plentiful rainfall for this area – the last harvest of any measure was 2007.

Trees & Shrubs 2012 – 2014

This list includes new volunteers, transplants found in other locations and brought to CBP, earlier planting by Will Kearns (that established with no irrigation), seeds dispersed (Kyle Chamberlain 2009) and nursery stock. In 2013 CBP applied for and won the Espoma Award through the National Gardening Association and received $2000 towards nursery stock to begin selection of  climate appropriate (Bsk) trees & shrubs to increase plantings. The following list includes 26 Genus groups.

Apricot (Prunus sp)  9
Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)   5                                                
Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa)  23
Black Locust (Robinia psuedoacacia)  13
Buffalo Berry (Sheperdia argenteus)  6
Box Elder (Acer negundo)  8
Choke Cherries (Prunus virginiana)  14
Corkscrew Willow (Salix matsudana) 2
Coyote Willow (Salix exigua)  7
Currents (Ribes sp)  26
Dogwood (Cornus mas)  4
Drummond Willow (Salix drummondiana)  1
Elderberry (Sambucus sp)  7
Goji Bery (Lycium barbarum)  4 
Goumi Berry (Eleagnus sp)  6
Hell’s Canyon Plum (Prunus americana)  11
Hybrid Willow (Salix sp)  9
Hybrid Poplars (Populus idahoensis)  10
Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)  5
Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris)  2
Maple (Acer platenoides)  1
Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii)  5
Mountain Mohagony (Cercocarpus ledifolius)  4
Mulberry (Morus sp)  2
Nectarine (Prunus sp)  1
Oak (Quercus sp)  1
Pacific Willow (Salix lucida)  3
Peach (Prunus sp)  3
Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)  10
Plum Dawn’s (Prunus sp)  3
Plum Italian (Prunus sp) 1
Plum (unknown lower raised beds)  1
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)  8
Rose  (Rosa sp)  30
Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)  4
Seaberry (Hippophae sp)  7
Siberian Elm (Ulmas pumila)  21
Siberian Pea Shrub (Caragana arborescens)  13
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos)  4
Snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus)  2
Yellow Horn (Xanthoceras sorbifolium) 4

Total                       312 

In total, 18 Families are represented;



Clearly we have an abundance of Salicaeae (willows & poplars), followed by Fabaceae (black locust & pea shrubs) as a close second. In thinking about what David Jacke spelled out in his book Edible Forest Gardens; pay very close attention to the families of the plants you are considering. Problems with insects/diseases can be mitigated (after establishing soil health of course) by properly spacing Genus/species (found in the same family) at appropriate distances from each other around the property. Diversify the individuals you select in order to strengthen the outcome of your design. After completing this inventory, it becomes evident that  at least 6 families have less than 5 individuals in each of them. Now I can increase the number of individuals within that group. 

Taking a simple inventory has been eye opening  and didn’t take long to do. I’ve heard people complain about “having to learn those scientific names” and relying only upon common names to try to communicate. Ever have a conversation with some who says “wow I saw this movie with what’s her name in it and that guy you know the one that was in that action film last year and anyway they were traveling to oh what’s the name of that city and ate amazing fruit that looked like a melon.”?  WTF??????  Don't let intimidation keep you from learning an amazing new language, in the long run it will help you communicate more effectively.

Wind & Water

There is no escaping the wind. The combination of wind and intense sun greatly increases evaporation over precipitation we receive during the summer months. Overuse of water resources (and that resource is becoming increasingly limited) to compensate for this situation is not an option.

By applying the wholistic, ethical design science of permaculture we are pursuing multifaceted stacked function approaches to repairing the soil, building soil, & reducing water use – all towards the establishment of a well designed and stable forest on 5 acres within the 21 acre parcel of CBP.


Thank you for taking the time to read about our trees. Let me know if you see any miss-spells!!!

 Please check back each year as we add more wonderful life giving friends to the property.

Sheila Grace

(from our website http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?page_id=5198)

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Permaculture Design Course
Type: Online Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course
Teacher: Geoff Lawton
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Date: May 2013
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